All her life, Jennifer Hindle dreamt of living on a farm. Before opening Indigo Fields, she was a successful teacher at a school in Joburg, but her longing for the countryside mixed with her passion for people allowed her to create this one-of-a-kind spa and guest house in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Situated on the R103, Indigo Fields is nestled among many other farms near the famous town of Nottingham Road.
Indigo Fields is home to beautiful lavender plantations, which they use to make candles, lotions and sprays for their accommodation once harvest arrives.
Now in its 13th year, Indigo Fields is a successful business, owing to its 99% word of mouth recommendations.
“I remember coming down to Durban with my husband Paul to do the Midmar Mile in 2003 and we went home owning a farm.
“Our aim was to run a small bed and breakfast with three rooms but we soon realised it would not work.
“We started with the B&B, a coffee shop and a gallery in 2004 and a year later it became more destination-focused,” she told me as we wandered through her beautifully cultivated lavender fields.
Jennifer having a meeting with her team at the spa. Photo: Zanele Zulu
Change was always on the horizon for Hindle. Just a year after launching, she decided she wanted her venue to be spa-centred.
She wanted people to book spa treatments, stay the night to refresh and rejuvenate themselves before heading out the next day.
She has about 30 staff, 26 of whom are women from local communities she had trained and equipped with the necessary skills.
It’s easy to see that Hindle's staff are a priority for her, holding daily empowerment meetings with them.
They close on Sunday, Monday as well as Easter and Christmas holidays so that the women can have time with their families.
“Happy staff members create a good vibe for the business. I believe in women empowerment. I want them to be inspired and love their work but at the same time also have time with their children.
“Like any owner my aim is to develop these women and allow them to use Indigo Fields as a stepping stone for other opportunities,” she says.
There is something unique about Indigo Fields, from the spa treatments and the accommodation to the dining.
Indigo Fields has six suites in the guest house and two cottages called Twickle and Little Pink.
If people want to visit, they must book a spa treatment.
One of the retreat's luxurious suites. Photo: Grant Pitcher